There are some events which come to define a nation; in August 1997 there were two such developments that took place over a single weekend which changed the course of history.
As a nation mourned its princess, tragically killed in a road traffic accident in Paris, 11 men were taking to the football pitches of Clapham Common for the first time under the guise of Jeff’s Chippy, coincidentally bedecked in royal blue.
Twenty-two years later the lyrics from Sir Elton John’s tribute to the People’s Princess are more relevant and powerful than ever: “Goodbye England’s rose, may you ever grow in our hearts. You were the grace that placed itself where lives were torn apart. You called out to our country and whispered to those in pain, now you belong to heaven and the stars spell out your name.” With the passing of time the ‘English rose’ referenced by the Watford popstar no longer comes to represent the memory of Lady Princess Diana of Wales, they in-fact apply to former Jeff’s Chippy manager Harry Ingham.
After winning the Central London Super Sunday League title during his only season in charge of the club, the Somerset man announced that he was to step aside. It was an revelation that sent shockwaves across South London and, according to our sources, the current squad were crestfallen with the news. Former captain and all-time record goalscorer Adam Honeyman told the Sheffield Star: “Ingham was quite literally a massive presence at the club.”
With anguish and sorrow burning the hearts of those closest to the club it was time for the tissues to be put away, the evidence of any wrongdoing by the self-elected monarchy of the country to be buried and a new princess be coronated. Puffs of white smoke bellowed from the chimneys of Clapham Common and it was announced that Ant Stonehewer would be the Camilla Parker-Bowles to Dan Whitehead’s Prince Charles.
Parker-Bowles has always failed to capture the hearts and minds of this once great island, but Whitehead has a genuine king amongst men in Stonehewer and he’s expecting the Welsh native to lead the Chippy to glory, their very own King of Wales. It was a coronation which was greeted with universal praise and his decision to grant the captaincy to Jon Walton was testament to his decisive decision making.
However, if the Stonehewer statement was met with fanfare, pomp and ceremony then the news that Walton would be pulling on the armband for the season was met with a similar response to when Cadbury’s announced they would be charging 30p for a Freddo instead of the traditional 10p. Long serving left-back John Watts spoke out saying: “He doesn’t even lift. The armband is literally too big for him!”
It’s said that football often reflects society and in a fractured country which stands on the brink of chaos with a right-wing buffoon set to take charge it’s maybe telling that Jeff’s Chippy lost 6-1 to Sporting Continental on Sunday. Luckily for fans of the Chippy, Stonehewer is less right-wing and more of an imperious centre midfielder.
To correctly quote William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” It’s fair to say that Stonehewer’s head will certainly be itching quite a bit this morning.
Sporting Continental 6-1 Jeff's Chippy
Formation: Harry (GK); Harvey, Walton, Watson, Watts (7); Flannigan, George, Okeowo, Plowman, Ilan; Mitchell (4-5-1)
Goals: Mitchell (61' PEN)